Guest Author - Deborah Markus
Although I adore my usual brownie recipe, sometimes I'm in the mood for something a little different. Sometimes melting the chocolate and waiting for it to cool is just too much fuss. I want something fast and rich and cocoa-tasting.
And so I bake cocoa brownies.
Cocoa brownies are about the easiest brownies you can bake short of buying a mix. And you don't want to do that. Life is too short for mediocre brownies.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and butter a 9 by 13 or other long baking pan.
Melt a cup (two sticks) of butter. Measure one and a quarter cups of unsweetened cocoa powder into a large mixing bowl, and pour the melted butter in. Mix thoroughly until completely smooth.
Cocoa is a strong chocolate flavoring. While my other brownies can rest content with a dose of white sugar, cocoa brownies need two sweeteners to tame them.
First measure out three quarters of a cup of brown sugar, firmly packed. Stir this into the cocoa-butter mixture.
If you like your brownies to have a little cocoa bite to them, add half a cup of white (granulated) sugar. If you like something a little quieter, make it three quarters of a cup. Either way, mix thoroughly.
If using salted butter, you can omit adding half a teaspoon of salt. I like to add it regardless, since salt brings out the flavor of chocolate.
Next add the eggs. Here you have a choice to make. If you like a light, cake-like brownie, add three eggs. If you want something richer and fudgier, add four. Whatever you choose, be sure to use the highest quality eggs you can find (cage-free are always best) and beat them in one at a time.
Stir in one teaspoon of vanilla. If you opted for cake-like brownies, add three fourths of a cup of all-purpose flour. If you prefer fudgy, keep it down to half a cup.
Finally, stir in a cup and a half of your favorite chocolate chips.
Pour the whole wonderful mass into the prepared pan and bake for about half an hour, until the edges look a little dry and pull away from the edge of the pan. Start checking at twenty-five minutes.
When done, let the brownies cool thoroughly on a rack before serving. (Unfortunately, even cocoa brownies need to cool about an hour, bare minimum.)
This recipe makes a large batch and is wonderful for parties and other friendly gatherings.